Can loose teeth be saved?

can loose teeth be saved

Teeth are for a lifetime, and once they are lost, you will have to go for artificial replacements to replace them. Figuring out that your teeth are loose can be frustrating, and all you need to know is, can loose teeth be saved? 

In this article, I have broken down the topic under the following headings for ease of understanding:

  • If a tooth is loose, can it be saved
  • The causes of loose teeth.
  • Can a loose tooth be saved (A 5-step guideline to determine the fate of loose teeth)
  • Treatment options for saving loose teeth.

Let’s get started:

if a tooth is loose, can it be saved

Yes, a loose tooth can be fixed. Dentist always tries to save the teeth as best they can. There are several ways to fix mobile teeth. However, despite modern methods of saving teeth, some situations arise when a tooth can’t be saved and need replacement.

Causes of loose teeth in adults

There are several causes of loose teeth. 

Advanced gun disease or periodontitis

It is the second most common cause of tooth extraction in the dental practice and accounts for 9% of extractions. It mainly occurs due to poor oral hygiene or improper brushing and flossing. If oral hygiene is not maintained correctly, plaque accumulates beneath your gums and destroys the tooth attachment fibers and bone.

How do you know if you have advanced gum disease?
If you have advanced gum disease, your teeth will appear longer with receding gumline, exposing the teeth’s roots. This signifies that your teeth has lost their gum and bone support. 
There are main types of periodontitis:
Aggressive periodontitis: In aggressive periodontitis, things progress faster, and you will notice one or more wiggling teeth within months. It mainly affects young individuals below the age of 30.
Chronic periodontitis: It takes years for the gums to recede and expose the roots of the teeth. It primarily affects people over 35 years.

Osteoporosis (1 in 3 postmenopausal women gets osteoporosis)

It is the most common chronic disease in which bones become porous and are susceptible to fracture. It affects 1 in 3 postmenopausal women and 5 men after 50. 

Estrogen regulates bone metabolism and stimulates bone-forming cells to form new bone, and therefore, the low blood estrogen levels in postmenopausal women lead to fragile bones. 

Ways manage and prevent osteoporosis
Estrogen therapy protects the backbone and lower jaw bone density.
Calcium and vitamin D supplementation also prevent osteoporosis after menopause.
Moreover, patients on bisphosphonate therapy are less likely to get resorption in jawbones. 

Pregnancy

Hormonal fluctuation in pregnancy, such as elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone, may cause the growth of your gums, redness, pain, bleeding gums, increased fluid in crevices between the tooth and gums, and tooth mobility.

You may begin experiencing these symptoms in the second trimester, but they worsen in the coming months due to a further hormone surge. There is no need to worry about it as it will go away as the hormone levels drop after delivery. 

Injury to the tooth

Teeth may become loose or come out with an intact root after trauma (avulsion) due to partial or complete severance of the tooth attachment fibers. The loosened teeth, or those that need to be repositioned, are splinted with the neighboring teeth with a flexible wire.

Medications

Anti-epileptic drugs like phenytoin, nifedipine (blood pressure lowering medication), and cyclosporine cause the growth of gums.

The drug affects the gums 3-4 months after starting the medication. Improper oral hygiene maintenance in enlarged gums can lead to plaque accumulation, resulting in boss loss, followed by tooth mobility. 

Systemic diseases

High blood sugar levels in uncontrolled diabetes can damage your gums. It impairs the ability of white blood cells to fight infections and damages the blood vessels of the gums allowing gum disease to progress faster. 

Also, Bone or tooth-related cancers growing close to teeth may cause resorption of the bone or tooth roots leading to wiggling teeth. 

Teeth grinding

Horizontal forces exerted over the teeth for a prolonged period may destroy the tooth attachment fibers making your teeth loose. 

can loose teeth be saved (A 5-step guideline to determine the fate of loose teeth)?

The criteria for saving loose teeth is based on the following factors:

Bone loss (teeth <50% bone have poor support)

If your tooth is loose in the socket, but still in place. The dentist will evaluate its future based on the amount of bone that has lost around the tooth.

The bone supporting the teeth is lost in advanced gum disease or periodontitis, and the amount of bone loss can be seen on an x-ray. A tooth that loses more than 50% of the bone has a questionable prognosis or survival. 

Clinical Attachment loss (teeth with 6mm attachment loss lack enough support)

Periodontal fibers attach the teeth to the bone and are lost in periodontitis. A calibrated instrument is used to measure the attachment loss by inserting it between the gums and teeth. A pocket depth of greater than 6mm shows questionable survival of the tooth.

Tooth mobility (a tooth depressing in the socket is considered for removal)

A tooth mobility greater than 2mm in inward or outward direction has fewer chances of survival. Also, a tooth that depresses in the socket on applying pressure has a poor prognosis.

Cigarette smoking aggravates gum disease (an important risk factor)

A cigarette smoking habit aggravates pre-existing gum disease, and the health of the teeth deteriorates faster in patients who smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day. 

Uncontrolled diabetes accerlates gum disease (an important risk factor)

High blood sugar in patients with HBA1c greater than and equal to 7% shows rapid attachment and bone loss unless their diabetes is controlled.

The dentist determines to save or extract a loose tooth based on the severity of the above factors. 

7 Treatment options on how wobbly teeth can be saved

If the dentist decides to save a tooth based on the above criteria. Following are the treatment options to strengthen loose teeth:

Scaling and root planing (Most important method to strengthen loose teeth)

The most common cause of tooth mobilty is poor oral hygiene due to lack of brushing and flossing or improper brushing of teeth.

Scaling and root planing involves the professional removal of plaque and tartar deposits on the teeth and in the deep gum pockets. It is carried with an ultrasonic scaler.

Tetracycline fibers (an Additional method to curb the infection)

They are antibiotic-impregnated fibers inserted into the gums to deliver a high dose of antibiotics to curb the infection. It is used in addition to scaling to control the disease.

Bone grafts regenerate lost bone

They are an effective way of regenerating the bone lost as a consequence of periodontitis. The grafted bone heals and incorporates into the recipient site by budding out new vessels and providing cells for new bone formation. Different types of grafts are used to regenerate the bone. 

Autogenous grafts are taken from the patient’s body and provide the most successful results. It integrates into the tissues, initiates new bone formation, fiber reattachment, and cementum formation. They are taken from the bony prominence behind the last upper or lower molar, healing bony wound, or extraction socket in the mouth. 

Allografts (obtained from humans), xenografts (sourced from animals), and alloplasts (inorganic materials) are other types of bone grafts used to reconstruct lost bone.

Guided tissue Regeneration

It is a surgical procedure where an artificial membrane is placed between the gums and teeth to regenerate the lost bone and restore the tooth’s supporting tissues.

Tooth Splinting (loosened teeth tied with the neighboring teeth)

Can a loose front tooth be saved: Yes, a front loose tooth can be saved with splinting.

The loosened tooth is splinted with the neighboring teeth with by bonding a flexible wire on the inner surface of the teeth. A nickel-titanium or a thin flexible stainless steel wire is used for splinting to allow minor tooth movements to keep them vital.

Diet management (quit western diet)

Nutrition is an essential component in preventing chronic diseases such as periodontitis, diabetes, and heart disease.  

Consumption of a western diet high in sugar and saturated fat and low in pyrols and fibers is directly associated with an increased risk of gum diseases in developed countries. So, it would help to switch to a low-sugar, high-fiber, and high-omega-3 diet to control periodontitis. 

Vitamins A, B, C, and D, calcium, zinc, and polyphenols have been shown to prevent gum disease. 

Olive oil is an enormous part of the Mediterranean diet, considered one of the healthiest diets. It is rich in polyphenols and oleic acid that fight against free radicals, stimulate the bone-forming cells and prevent plaque formation.

Home remedies 

The following home remedies may be added to stop the progression of the disease. However, home remedies alone are not sufficient to cure advanced gum disease:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once a day.
  • You can also use warm saline gargles as salt is a natural disinfectant. Please ensure not to use it for more than 5 days. 
  • Turmeric and black pepper have healing properties. A turmeric black pepper paste can be applied to the affected teeth in addition to oral hygiene maintenance to heal the tissues.

FAQ’S

What should you do if your tooth becomes loose?

If you feel that your tooth is loose, book an appointment with your dentist to get it checked. Delaying it can cause further damage to the tooth and negatively impact its survival. 

Don’t touch it with your tongue. As continuous tongue pressure will increase its mobility. 

Also, don’t wiggle it with your finger to take it out at home. The teeth are firmly attached to the bone with strong fibers. Often loose teeth have tartar attached to them, and pulling them out can cause bleeding or infection.

Why do my teeth feel loose?

There are several reasons why your teeth feel loose. The most common reason is advanced gum disease, where several teeth show different degrees of mobility. Get yourself checked with your dentist for further evaluation. 

How can I prevent loose teeth?

Good oral hygiene is fundamental for strong and healthy teeth. Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day and flossing once a day maintains teeth in good health. 

A diet rich in good fats, high fiber, protein, and vitamins is also essential for the longevity of teeth.

Conclusion

If a tooth is loose, can it be saved

Figuring out that your teeth are loose can be stressful and your main concern is to find out if your loose teeth can be saved. 

Yes, loose teeth with a certain degree mobility can be saved.

A 5-step guideline is used to determine the prognosis of wiggling teeth and devise a treatment plan. 

The three most important factors include the amount of bone loss, clinical attachment loss, and the degree of tooth mobility. Diabetic status and cigarette smoking habits also influence the decision to save a tooth. 

The treatment options for saving a loose tooth include scaling and root planning, antibiotic therapy, bone grafting, diet management, splinting, and guided tissue regeneration. 

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